Initially created as a 44 minute two channel video, Memory Theatre, has now been separated into seven separate fragments for a multiple video installation at The Space with live simultaneous performances by the artist and the composer Tom Lane.

By sharing this installation-performance-experiment with the audience, Kirwan opened up the experience to multiple interpretations, which are at once collective and singular.
The decision to expand Memory Theatre both physically and conceptually beyond its initial form, marked the artist’s long-standing exploration of diverse media to convey memory, repetition and archive and stimulate multiple readings. The recorded and repeatable nature of the videos stand in contrast to the singularity of a live performance.

Kirwan’s performances are based on seemingly endless repetitions of absurd and futile activities which express what the artist has described as ‘the physical traces of mourning.’

In the fog of bereavement, physical contact with objects and external surroundings serves as a form of mapping or orienteering.  Her performative work explores the haptic and tensions between the body and sites. She explores the idea of the trace as a mark that has barely been made or that may disappear, and asks was something there, and was something left behind?

Memory Theatre is underpinned by Kirwan’s inquiry into the concept of the ‘philosophical fragment’. The German Romantic philosopher Frederich Schlegel posited a radical definition of this fragment as a dynamic process of fragmentation for its own sake. Intrinsic to Kirwan’s futile reiterations and journeys is the essential incompletion which is itself the mode of fulfilment.

Memory Theatre as a live performance-installation-experiment took place in London at The Space Arts Centre on Saturday 6 January 2018.


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